N.C. State’s pre-NCAA tournament resume is complete with some major highlights and a few weak spots that stick out.
Still, it’s a solid body of work even after the 91-87 loss to No. 12 Boston College that knocked the fifth-seeded Wolfpack out of the ACC tournament on Wednesday.
Now, the Pack and its fans wait for Sunday’s NCAA bracket announcement. The loss to the Eagles adds some anxiety but ultimately everything points to the N.C. State making the field this year after a two-year absence.
“I'm excited about our team,” N.C. State coach Kevin Keatts said. “Our body of work is pretty good when you think about what we've done in a short amount of time and look at winning -- beating five top-25 teams and winning on the road and a couple wins against the No. 2 team in the country. So I'm excited about it. You know, I'm excited for these guys for the opportunity.”
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The Wolfpack players admit some uncertainty exists but are comfortable ending the season 21-11 and 11-7 in the ACC.
“It’s a concern but we’ve won 21 games, 11 games in the ACC,” N.C. State guard Sam Hunt said. “We’ve beat top teams in the country, top five teams, top two teams, so I feel with our resume we should get in. But that’s out of our hands now. We left it in the hands of someone else. We have to live with that.”
Senior forward Lennard Freeman is one of the few Wolfpack players who has been through this situation before, waiting on the NCAA selection show to find out if the Wolfpack would go to the tournament.
“I feel like if you are the fifth seed in the ACC you should get in there,” Freeman said. “But you never know with them. But I feel pretty confident.”
Here are the final numbers that the NCAA selection committee will use to determine N.C. State’s fate:
The Wolfpack’s final RPI that is being used by the NCAA selection committee this week is 64 after the loss to Boston College.
Over the last week, N.C. State saw its RPI fluctuate. On the final day of February, it was No. 47. The 78-75 loss at Georgia Tech on March 1 dropped it back to No. 61. Beating Louisville on March 3 bumped N.C. State back up to 55.
In KenPom.com rankings, N.C. State remained at No. 41 even after Wednesday's loss to Boston College.
The good thing about Boston College winning on Wednesday is it firmly leaves the Eagles in the top 100 of the RPI. The Eagles check in at No. 89 before their game against Clemson on Thursday.
That’s important because that makes N.C. State’s loss to the Eagles as a quadrant 2 game on the NCAA team sheets.
Quadrant 2 includes home games against RPI teams 31 to 75, neutral site games against teams 51-100 and away games against teams 76-125.
The Wolfpack’s final ledger is 5-7 against Q1, which are home games against the top 30, neutral site games against the top 50 and away games against the top 75.
In Q2, the Wolfpack is 3-2.
That leaves N.C. State 8-9 against the top two quadrants. While the Wolfpack missed an opportunity to build on that record this week at the ACC tournament in Brooklyn, that’s still enough work to get the Pack into the NCAA tournament with ease.
By comparison, Syracuse is 6-11 against those two quadrants and will be nervous on Sunday, hoping to be sent to Dayton for the First Four.
N.C. State is 5-2 against quadrant 3, which includes home games against RPI teams 76 to 160, neutral site games against teams 101-200 and away games against teams 136-240.The losses came to Northern Iowa and Georgia Tech.
Even with an 8-0 record against Q4 teams, the Wolfpack still has a winning record (13-11) when those games are thrown out.
Bracketmatrix.com, the site which tracks dozens and dozens of bracket projections still has the Wolfpack as a lock to make the NCAA tournament. When the site was last updated on Thursday morning, it was following 80 projections. Even after the loss to Boston College, N.C. State was included in 78 of them with an average seed of 9.44. That's down a bit from the 8.84 average seed prior to the Boston College loss. Jerry Palm updated his bracket Thursday morning at CBS Sports, listing N.C. State as a No. 9 seed. Joe Lunardi at ESPN also has the Wolfpack a No. 9 seed.